“No, I haven’t. I’m a rough customer, and have done plenty of mean things, but this is the first job of the kind I ever attempted. I wouldn’t have done it, only I heard the old man say in the cars, that he had a lot of money with him. I was hard up, and on my way to Cedarville, to try to get work, but when I heard what he said, the devil tempted me, I believe, and I determined to keep you both in sight, and get out where you did. I’ve tried and failed, and that’s the end of it. It’s my first attempt at burglary.”
“I hope it will be the last.”
“You may bet your life on that!”
“Then,” said Herbert, quietly, “I will intercede with Mr. Carroll for you, and ask him not to have you arrested.”
“Will you do that?” asked the wounded man, eagerly.
“I promise it.”
“If you will, boy, I will bless you, and if God would listen to such a scamp as I am, I’d pray for you.”
“He will listen to you,” said Herbert. “Try to lead a better life, and He will help you.”
“I wish I’d met with such as you before,” said the burglar. “I’d have been a better man than I am.”
Here the doctor entered, and Herbert gave place to him. The wound was discovered not to be serious, and, the bullet being extracted, the sufferer found relief. Herbert returned to bed, and this time, having no anxious thoughts to weigh upon his mind, he soon sank into a refreshing sleep, in which the fatigues and excitements of the day were completely forgotten.
“I owe the safety of my money to you, my brave boy,” said Mr. Carroll, the next morning, as, after rising, he replaced the package of bank notes in his carpet-bag.
“I only did my duty,” said Herbert, but his face flushed with pleasure at the commendations bestowed upon him.
“But in doing your duty, you displayed a courage and fidelity rare in one of your age.”
“I am glad you approve of my conduct,” said Herbert.
“If you continue to deserve as well of those who employ you, I am sure you will achieve success.”
“I hope so, sir,” said our hero. “I shall try to do my duty in whatever situation in life I may be placed.”
“What are your plans when you reach New York?”
“I shall try to find a place in a store, or counting-room.”
“Have you friends in the city on whose influence you can rely to help you to such a situation as you desire?” “No, sir; I have only myself to look to.”
“Only yourself! It is a bold undertaking.”
“Don’t you think I shall succeed?” asked Herbert, a little anxiously.
“I do not doubt that you will succeed, after finding a place, but that is the difficulty.”
“I supposed there must be plenty to do in a great city like New York.”
“There is truth in what you say, but, nevertheless, many are led astray by it. There is, indeed, a great deal to do, but there are a great many ready to do it, and generally—I may say, always—the laborers exceed the work to be done.”